Loren Cameron, a transgender man who photographs other trans people, wonders if a number of transgender individuals are actually intersex.
He himself found out about his mixed chromosomes in the ‘80s, but says most of the trans community do not have their chromosomes tested because of the cost.
“If this was proven to be an intersex situation and was chromosal ... I wonder would people still question what we’re doing with our bodies,” he said.
Cameron, a transgender photographer, gave a presentation of his work on Tuesday night in the Ward building and shared his story of growing up a lesbian and becoming a transgender man, as well as the stories of those transgender people he photographed.
“The stories talk about who we are as people and what we’ve gone through and what our fears are and our triumphs as well as our pitfalls,” Cameron said.
Roberto Edwards, a large landowner in Chile, asked Cameron to create the project of his dreams, the most comprehensive work of transgender nudes to date. The project took Cameron five years to finish.
“[Edwards] said, ‘I’m just trying to show how many ways we celebrate our bodies, how we all seem to have a way of changing them, a way of owning them,’” Cameron said.
Cameron started photographing trans-men and women in 1993 though he initially didn’t know how to use a camera. Despite this, he was passionate about his work and held his first exhibition the following year. In 1996 he published his first photography book of transgender men.
“I knew there was a lack of photographs that spoke to us [transgender people] about who we could become [and] what was possible for us,” Cameron said. “When you’re thinking about doing this, it’s so big, and it’s such a big change. Back then we had no visuals [and] no idea how powerful hormones are.”
Cameron appeared on National Geographic’s TV Series “Taboo” in 2006 in the “Sexual Identities” episode.
After his debut on National Geographic, Cameron had an incident in which he narrowly avoided being attacked.
After Cameron left a store, a drunken gay man told him, “You don’t belong here. You’d better leave,” he said.
Cameron believes the man was part of a larger group that planned to attack him.
“He said it in a way that was really nasty, but I understood also that he was taking a risk,” Cameron said. “I asked him why and he said ‘you really don’t want to be here very soon. You need to leave.’”
When Cameron started driving away in his Jeep, five men came running around the corner and jumped into a car to chase him. Cameron pulled into a driveway a few blocks away to avoid them and stayed there all night. In the morning he could see their tire tracks covering the beach where he normally camped.
“It’s a reality for us that the more out we are, the more at risk we are,” Cameron said.
Cameron previously came to campus in April 2008 to share his photographs of transgender people in the Mary Graydon Center.
The event on Tuesday was sponsored by a number of on-campus organizations such as the GLBTA Resource Center, Queers and Allies, Women’s Initiative and KPU.
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